The hike had been long and tiring, but the half-orc was not one to complain about having to work, run, or do anything else. He had always prided himself on his strength and endurance, and this trek was no different. He couldn't help but curse under his breath as they fought through the thick undergrowth, more at the inconvenience than anything else though.
Instinctively he reached for his weapon when a voice from nowhere entered his mind, he valued his free will too much to abide strangers in his head. However when it became aware the voice was benign he loosened his grip on his flail and continued on down the path that had revealed itself in the moonlight. He had not said much of anything the entire time, and still said nothing as he trudged on, eager to reach their destination and find out just what he had been roped into.
When the voice spoke in his head, Heironymus paused and listened. He didn't like this. He was being manipulated and he knew it. It was bad enough when they forced his actions, but his mind was his own . . . or at least he hoped it was.
He looked around - it seemed that everyone was having the same internal discussion. No, not discussion - speech. A very one-sided speech. but they were all getting it.
Like good little minions, the group turned North. (I assume, Heironymus would anyway.) What new lie and deceit lay ahead? The cleric didn't know, he could only hope that his god would guide his footsteps. But so far in this world of eternal twilight, things hadn't gone so well.
It wasn't the first time in his life things hadn't gone well. But at least in the past he had always know who the good guys and the bad guys were. He had known which side he was on. There might be few options, but he had known the basic outlines of the issue. Here he was blind. For all he knew the good guys were back in the city. Very doubtful, actually. Nor were the good guys back in the cave.
Ok, so he knew a little bit. But not much else. Just because one side was not the good guys did not mean that the other side was good. Not all conflicts had a good and a bad side - some just had conflict. And why was this his conflict - aside from loyalty to those he had met in this world?
He needed information. And information of some sort would be available in the house to the North. The Shadow would provide some information. Perhaps not much. Perhaps all lies. Maybe truth. But still, pieces to the puzzle. They had already determined to go to the house - there was no reason to turn back now.
Hopefully he would get a chance later to make another decision.
Airion was tired of walking. In the very recent past he had been through hell, and had not much recovery. Now he was on a journey with people whose skills he wasn't sure of, whose trust he wasn't sure of. He figured he woudl make the best of it, despite everything. Perhaps this could be the beginning of a few friendships.
Arion was startled when the voice entered his head, but he was strangely a bit at ease as well. As the voice was giving them their directions and reassuring them, he reached into his pouch and began rubbing the strange medallion between his thumb and finger.
It seemed silence was the status quo for the journey and for now Airion didn't mind. As the others began moving along the newly revealed path he followed , still covering the rear of the group. despite the assurance they were safe he still kept his eyes open for any danger.
Posted on 2010-12-13 at 02:50:15.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
It is only a matter of minutes before a large mansion comes into view. It is a sprawling three story building constructed alost entirely out of gray stone. The trim is dark wood, polished and carved into ornate designs. Atop the house and on its two balconies can be seen several statues that vigilantly watch over the grounds. A number of windows can be seen on each floor, several have light pouring out of them. From what you can see from here the interior is as rich and ornate as the exterior.
The area surrounding it is completely clear of both trees and underbrush for fifty feet in any direction. At the edge of the forest to the northeast can be seen another smaller building with a well nearby. A guest house of sorts perhaps?
As you approach the house the large front door opens and a well-dressed man steps out.
"Welcome my friends. The Master is busy at the moment but he bid me to ensure you are all comfortable. There are rooms prepared for each of you if you wish, or you can make yourselves comfortable in the parlor."
He motions you inside and (assuming you head in) motions to a room off to the right.
"This is the parlor."
As you look in you see a large room (25' square) carpeted in thick red carpet, accented by a black bearskin rug. The hearth at the opposite end of the room blazes, providing a warmth to the room that you haven't felt in far too long. There is also extra wood just to the side of the fireplace. Several floor to ceiling bookshelves stand on either side of the hearth filled with leatherbound volumes. A pair of fine, padded chairs face the fire with a small table between them on which sits a pair of books, a low burning oil lamp and a small copper bell.
In another section of the room is an ornate ebony table surrounded by six matching chairs. The detail of the carvings on both the table and the chairs is exquisite, likely valueing into te hundreds of gold pieces for their art value alone.
"You may relax here if you wish. If you have need of anything simply ring te bell and I shall come. The Master said it may be some time before he is available to speak with you, and asks for your patience. Now, may I offer you tea, wine, or perhaps something to eat before I return to my duties elsewhere?"
(Unless anyone requests anything he bids you good evening and leaves the room, closing the door behind him.)
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth the half-orc spoke up, "I don't know about the rest of ya, but I could go for a hot meal, maybe a steaming plate of mutton and potatoes, and a stout ale. You can only eat travel rations for so long."
The thief in him was already appraising the furniture in his mind, estimating the value of just this one room he couldn't help but come to the conclusion that this "Master" was loaded, and suddenly the payment he had received for the prison break seemed kinda small.
Posted on 2010-12-15 at 16:41:06.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
"As you wish sir."
The man disappears out of the door, returning about ten minutes later followed by half a dozen servants carrying large silver platers. The servants set the table for the party with fine china, though the silverware is steel rather than true silver.
Platers containing rosted duck, breads, chesses and a number of other succulent side dishes are placed on the table along with serving utensils. The servants then exit the room without a word.
"If that will be all...?"
Waiting only a few moments for a response and then leaves, closing the door softly behind him and leaving the group to their own devices.
(OOC: In an effort to ease the responsibility this holiday season, we will take a break from the game until January 2nd. Feel free to post and converse as much as you wish between now and then but please have at least one post completed by the 2nd. The game will be updated again at that point. I will still monitor the game and answer questions and such as I am able to over the break. Happy Yule (or whatever haliday you may be celebrating) to all.
Posted on 2010-12-20 at 14:53:20.
Edited on 2010-12-20 at 14:56:25 by Steelight
Without another word the half-orc piled up a plate with some of the steaming hot duck, some bread, cheese, and potatoes and proceeded to stuff his face like he hadn't eaten in days. His blatant disregard of even the most basic table manners was sure to disgust some of his companions, but he wasn't here to make friends, he was here on a job.
With his mouth full he grunted through bites of various food, "Dis stub id gud, ged sub." (This stuff is good, get some.)
Posted on 2010-12-21 at 16:14:10.
Edited on 2010-12-21 at 16:23:39 by Shield Wolf
Let no good deed go unpunished, Quarlin thought to himself. That was what he thought of his deeds in the Undercity. He was trying to awaken something lost in his people and they banished him for it. Something powerful. Maybe if this mission changes something for the better, if he himself survives, his people would see the powerful example that he is.
He then began to think of the Umbral that hired him, and of the figure shrouded in shadow that addressed the group he was now a part of. Let no good deed go unpunished, Quarlin thought again, but this time of the ones in real control of this mission.
As the thought finished in his head, another voice, distant and ominously resounding in his head, spoke to him, tenderly, calmly, but to a certain degree, had threatening undertones, ""Welcome to the Shadow's fold. The Master bids you welcome."
The shadows that obscured the forest, and made the trip through the woods so difficult, began to dissipate. This only made Quarlin wonder if this was a test of their resolve, their determination to make it to their destination. The shadows cleared to reveal a clear path.
"Have no fear." the voice continues, "You will come to no harm, for you are under the Master's protection. You will find the estate you seek at the end of the northern path, less than a mile from here. He awaits you." Let no good deed go unpunished....How can I know I can trust this 'master'. I'm not even sure how far I can trust my companions. Sure, the master could have killed us off by now, even could have had the guards do it.
The group finally made it to the mansion. As the he and the party stood in awe at the richness of it, the big front doors of the place opened up to reveal a well dressed man in the accoutrements
of a servant or butler.
The servant man showed the group to the parlor, citing that the master would be busy for quite a while and informed us that there is a room prepared for each of them. Quarlin wasn't about to show that he wasn't up to this kind work by hitting the bed as soon as one was made available, and besides, the group, especially the half-orc showed more interest in the eatables the rich place had to offer, and who could blame him. After nothing but trail rations, whatever this place had to offer had to be twice as fulfilling. Quarlin did wait, though, for everyone else to have a bite or two. Only when nobody died of poisoning or turned into glassy eyed zombies for the master's control, did he begin to make himself a plate of food.
Waiting for his mouth to be empty after his first bite, he agreed with the half-orc by saying,"Finally, some decent quality sustenance! If the rooms are as comfortable as this food is good, we should rest well after this meal."
After the servant left the food, Heironymus was beaten to the punch (well, duck and other food anyway) by the half-orc. He could hardly be impressed with the Rogues table manners, but he did admire his gusto.
With a smile at the half-orc, the cleric took a plate of his own and started to get himself some food. He wasn't really worried about poison - if "the master" wanted them dead it was fairly obvious that he could have accomplished that many times over already. For example, he could have simply left them in jail. So he ate a good meal.
After eating he moved over to the chair and examined the two books that were there. He might as well see what the master had left out for them to believe he was reading. He would flip through the books fairly thoroughly. Afterwards, if they didn't deserve more time, he would move on to the book shelves.
Posted on 2010-12-27 at 01:09:50.
Brianna Not Dragon Mistress Karma: 105/32 2282 Posts
Paranoia is a leared response
Kyara had been increasingly aware of the shadowy shapes that had materialized and then melded back into the shadows as they made there way towards this so called mansion and someone referred tot eh oh so "proper" shade the greeted them and asked them to make themselves comfortable as they were now under, thua self-proclaimed Master's protection." She did not feel protected, nor would she on just something's say so.
Wary she took a plate of food but waited for the other to eat just in case it was poisoned or had some sort of negative effect on them, a sleep draft or some other noisome brew.
"I will wait to make sure this food is not tainted with some potion or another."
"I have not like that this Master has brought us here and we still not not know why. There was just too many questions and not enough answers to any of them. This is getting weirder and weirder and I have known a lot of strange things in my many years of life and this whole series of calamities will not be set to rest by this one person who is the Mater of this place."
"Be wary, very wary"
Posted on 2010-12-28 at 08:27:48.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
The food satisfied you all (all who have eaten it anyway... those who haven't by this point have stomachs that are complaining rather loudly due to the aromas of the feast.). As each hour passes you hear a clock somewhere in the house chime loudly.
The room remains quiet and you are undisturbed as the meal draws to a close. Heironymus moves quietly to a chair near the warm fire when the meal is done. The two books laying on the side table are entitled "The Trinity of the Divine" and "Shadows of the Past." Picking up the Trinity book (one at random) is seems to be a scholarly work detailing the belief systems and religious practices surrounding the three primary deities of the nearby Illurian Empire. It speaks of Elarii the Trickster, Arudia, the goddess of all magic, and Steelight Shadowborne, also known as the Dark Father. It is around the last of these three on which the book focuses most strongly. Not only does it provide in depth detail regarding his church, it also gives hints about his divinity. (Successful Knowledge check by Heironymus) The undertones of the book seem mildly aggressive towards these deities, and hint at the possibility of them being mortal once, long ago. The text does not come out and say such things, but a phrase here and a sentence there make such an unlikely possibility slowly creep into your mind.
The clock chimes once again. It seems it is nearing moonset. Shortly thereafter there is a soft knock at the door. Hesitantly the door opens and the man you saw earlier steps into the room once again.
"I do hope I'm not disturbing you my friends. It gladdens me to see you've enjoyed your meal thoroughly." His eyes rest on the half-orc who still has remnants of his devoured meal on his shirt. A small smile graces his lips.
"I bring a message from the Master. His affairs keep him entangled much longer than he had supposed. He has bid me to show you all to your rooms so you can rest more properly. He will dine with you all in the morning to break your fast."
Servants (both male and female) are already beginning to flood into the room to clean up food remnants and carry platters from the room.
"If you would follow me..."
He waits for you to follow and then guides you out of the room. As you pass through the entry way of the mansion you get a better look at the place, and begin to fully realize the scope of who "The Master" must be. The floors are tiled with black marble, veined in silver. A sweeping staircase at least fifteen feet wide, made of the same exquisite stone climbs to a landing twenty feet above. Detailed columns carved in the form of sword-wielding maidens support the second floor landing above. Every detail from toes to facial expressions are visible even from twenty feet away.
The servant guides you up the stairs and down a seemingly endless hallway to your right. On the left he opens a double door made of oak and ebony spiraled in a manner that defied possibility. Behind the doors was a luxurious common room with a large roaring hearth, shelves of books, a table for meals and many other luxuries most adventurers never get the chance to experience. He motions to the doors on either side of the room.
"Each of you has been given a room in the guest wing of the mansion. They come together here so you can take their meals and converse as a group. If any of you wish a bath..." he wringles his sensitive nose a bit. "... which I'm sure at least the lady will, there are bathing basins in each of your rooms. The facets have running water, though I would urge you not to use more water than is necessary. As I said, you are guests here and should feel free to enjoy the grace the Master has shown you. If you have need of anything else pull on that cord..." He motions to a large curtain cord near the hearth. "Or similar cords that are in each of your rooms. You are welcome to wander the house if you wish. Those areas you are not permitted to enter will not allow you to do so. Are there any questions before I leave you for the evening?"
(Just for clarification you are actually in the foyer of your cluster of rooms. There are 8 large single doors that lead to individual guest rooms.)
A good meal and then a bed. At least there were some positives
Heironymus looked around the meeting room between all of the bedrooms and thanked their host - well, the servant of their host anyway.
He had appreciated the meal and now intended to enjoy a rest as well. The same logic seemed to apply here that had applied to the meal. He doubted he was in any danger simply because they had not yet killed him. It made sense in a morbid sort of way.
After the servant had left, Heironymus turned to the otehrs and said, "The food was good and aparently safe, I guess it is now time to try out the beds. I don't see any reason not to get some rest. Doubtless this won't remain a peaceful vacation for long. For now I think I shall check out the accomodations - and then perhaps go back downstairs to the hall we were in and see if I can learn anything from the books on the shelves. Unless someone finds something interesting, I suspect I will be looking to sleep within a couple of hours. Does anyone have any other ideas - or care to join me in checking out the bookshelves?"
1. Check out one of the sleeping rooms and leave any overnight supplies there.
2. Go back to where they had been staying
3. Continue looking at the book about the gods if it seemed he might have missed anything.
4. A fairly quick perusal of the shelves - what sort of subjects are there?
5. While open to anything he finds of interest, he will also be looking for an atlas - something that might tell him more about where he is.
Posted on 2011-01-13 at 01:51:30.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
(OOC: Since no one posted anything except Nomad, I am assuming you all bathed and went to sleep.)
The sleeping quarters are well furnished; each containing a large bed and a stocked writing desk complete with parchment, ink and quills. There are no fireplaces in the rooms, but hot air seems to flow in from somewhere, keeping the rooms at a comfortable temperature. In the rear of each is a doorway that leads to a privy and bathing tubs.
The night passes uneventfully, each of you sleeps comfortably in the beds, getting a better night's sleep than you have for quite some time. You all awaken refreshed in the morning to knocks at your doors. Servants have come to rouse you and help you get ready to break your fast with the Master. They each bear a pair of fine clothing and other necessities for appearing "noble." The offer baths once again, brush the hair of those who have it (including offering a razor and assistance with shaving for those who require it)and offer beautifully scented perfumes.
(OOC: I am stopping here for now to give the party a chance to ask questions of the servants or converse with each other before you are called to breakfast with the Master.)
Posted on 2011-01-17 at 18:07:42.
Edited on 2011-01-17 at 18:14:09 by Steelight
Quarlin was sitting up in his bed legs crossed and enjoying the warmth of the air and the bed. A knocking at the door roused him to action. Tying the robe he wore to hide his semi-nakedness, he cracks the door to peek out and identify the knocker. It was one of the servants.
"I have brought appropriate attire for you. If you will give me your worn traveling outfit, and I will have it washed. I can draw you a hot bath if you would like, to refresh and awaken yourself before breaking your fast."
Quarlin opened the door the rest of the way to let the man in, saying,"Please do a hot bath would be excellent. So, am I to assume that the master will be his true self this time and not in a disguise as I believe I've seen before?"
The servant laid the noble looking black clothing out on the bed, and went about drawing the bath as requested before answering back,"Sir, I assure you, I'm not all that sure I know what you are referring to. I have no idea how he conducts himself when he is out on business, but here in his home, you cannot expect him to be anything but himself as he always is around us, his servants." He finished his work and gave Quarlin an incredulous quirky little smile and shaking his head as if to say 'such a strange question from a stranger'.
After the servant left Quarlin to himself and his bath, Quarlin began to disrobe and bathe. The water was great, as he sniffed at the perfumed bath oil soaps. He found a scent that pleased him, a fragrance that reminded him of the Honey Fire lichen, a kind of sweet smelling glowing fungus found in most cavernous settings but most plentiful in the out skirts of the Undercity. When it was the wet season on the over-land, the Honey Fire would soak up and engorge itself with water and would drip sweet nectar into pools of standing fresh water. The nectar, undiluted, was poisonous, but in the fresh water was safe to drink and as sweet as Honey.
As he soaked, he pondered the liquid, as it faintly seemed to glow while in the bottle. He was taught the diluted nectar was safe to drink when the water it fell in began to glow as evenly as the Honey Fire it came from. This bottle contained oil, not water.
Quarlin got out of the bath, closed the curtains and put out all light in the privy. Now he would see. He reentered the bath tub and poured the bath oil on himself and in the water. As soon as it hit his wet body and the water, the room took on a faint illumination from the glow in the water, and he felt as if he found a piece of home.
He bathed in the darkness for a while longer, maybe a bit longer than he was supposed to. He got dressed and went down to meet with his companions and await the master. This breakfast, after the dinner the evening before, was something he was looking forward to.
Posted on 2011-01-18 at 01:47:27.
Edited on 2011-01-18 at 01:56:39 by Tiamat5774
While some may consider it odd for one such as Gronz to desire a hot bath the fact of the matter remained that the half-orc wanted nothing more than to get into his room, get out of his armor, and soak his sore muscles in a steaming tub of water. He ignored the varied soaps and oils present, not worried about smells or anything like that, just wanted to relieve the tension from the prison break, escaping the city, and the hike here. As he soaked in the water, lost in a thick fog of steam he let his guard down and relaxed, closing his eyes and taking deep meditative breaths. Before long he became so relaxed and comfortable that he found himself asleep in the bath.
A couple hours later he awoke to find that the steam had long since dissipated and the warmth has left his water, leaving him soaked and shivering in cold water. Climbing out he grunted and grumbled to himself about how annoying the situation was as he found the towel and dried off. Pulling the pants from his traveling clothes out of his pack he pulled them on and exited the room, intent on finding something to snack on before bed. (After/If he gets his late night snack he will go back to sleep in the bed as expected of him. If no snack can be found then he will still go to bed, though in a foul mood)
The following morning greeted the brutish orc-kin with a knock at the door and an announcement that he was expected to be prepared for breakfast shortly. Groggily he trudged out of bed, got the clothes they expected him to wear on and wandered out into the foyer to be lead to the dining hall where they were finally to meet this so-called Master over yet another fresh hot meal.